Border Encyclopedia

Commissioned by the Research Centre for Arts, Autonomy and Public Sphere (Zuyd University) and together with the Institute of Cartopology, we execute the artistic research project Border Encyclopedia, within the framework of the ITEM-programme ‘Productive Borders’.

Looking closely at maps of border regions, only simple lines cover the complexity, diversity and constant shifting character of the inner borders of the EU member states. Border Encyclopedia is an attempt to find other ways of representing the (local) manifestation of borders, in order to create a multiplicity or pluriformity which adds up to a richer palette, thus doing more justice to the richness and complexity of border regions and their raison d’être.

During two years of collaborative fieldwork in different European border regions, we developed new cartopological tools to reveal the performativity of Europe’s inner borders. The basis of this is the doing of Border Crossing Acts (BCA’s). In various workshops with students from universities all over Europe, participants have conducted BCA’s and used an a tailor-made grid in order to turn their individual border experience into an explicit map. In this way, participants not only got a broader understanding of borders within Europe, but also added valuable BCA’s to the project.

In addition, we developed the BCA-Navigator, an autonomous instrument that archives BCA’s and enables to discover and re-organise the various border manifestations. It enables navigating through specific and individual border crossing experiences of EU-citizens, sorted on location and/or thematically. In this way, it forms an ever-growing pluriform representation of the productivity of Europe’s inner borders. As the impact of borders not only changes from one location to another but also in time, the BCA Navigator is designed to be able to reflect these changes over time and thus offers the user the opportunity to add new BCA’s constantly.

Have a look at the introduction video below or directly visit the website for the full project.